Can I Feed my Dog Spoiled Meat?
Recently I was watching a video by Dr. Karen Becker. Dr. Becker was talking about the benefits of feeding dogs raw, fresh meat. Briefly, she mentioned that there is a website now supporting the practice of feeding spoiled and rotten meat to dogs. The reasoning behind this practice is that dogs in the wild will often times eat carcasses of animals that are not freshly killed. (Note: just to be clear, Dr. Becker does not support this practice at all, she believes it is dangerous to feed spoiled meat to dogs). I had never heard about feeding dogs like this, so I did a quick search. While I didn’t find a specific website dedicated to this type of “feeding”, I did stumble upon forums filled with people who seem to regularly feed their dogs meat that is beyond edible. Here, I wish to explain why it probably isn’t a great idea to feed your dog spoiled meat.
People’s reasons for feeding spoiled meat to their dogs:
On the above-mentioned forums, people gave many reasons to justify giving their dogs old meat. Several people stated that if their dog will eat it, then it must be ok for them. Others had gotten the meat for free from people whose freezers had broken, causing whatever meat was inside to go bad. Some stated that it is completely natural for dogs to eat rotting food, as wild dogs often burry meat and eat it several days later. Some people saw it as a way to get rid of meat that they had forgotten about in the fridge. Let’s briefly address some of these reasons.
The idea that a dog can distinguish between what is healthful for them and what might possibly kill them is ridiculous. Dogs are notorious for wanting to eat things that can potentially harm them. For example, antifreeze has a sweet taste, thus dogs like it. Antifreeze will cause kidney failure. This one example is enough to prove that dogs are not capable of knowing what is good to ingest and what is better left alone.
On the forum I was reading, it seemed pretty common for people to get meat to feed their dogs for free from their friends if their freezers had broken. One owner seemed really excited to get so much meat to start feeding their dog raw food. This owner was well intentioned, but as we will see below, feeding spoiled meat is not a safe practice.
With moves toward feeding dogs more naturally, it may seem completely natural to feed dogs old meat. Wild dogs often bury killed prey and consume it several days later. The scavenging nature of dogs also means that unlike cats, they will eat dead animals that they did not immediately kill. Feeding dogs raw meat that has passed human food inspection often produces wonderful results. Fresh, raw meat can carry certain bacteria, including salmonella and E. coli. Unlike people, dogs with healthy immune systems are rarely affected by these bacteria. Spoiled meat contains other substances which can harm dogs, as we shall see below.
Why Rotting Meat is Dangerous for Dogs:
Rotten meat is a breeding ground for bacteria, and these bacteria produce toxins and spores that can be harmful (Lawrie’s Meat Science). While dogs can generally handle the bacteria, they aren’t always equipped to deal with the toxins present in spoiled meat. This is the problem with feeding dogs spoiled meat. They can become sick from food poisoning just like people can.
Another problem with spoiled meat is that even when it is cooked, it can still be dangerous for your dog. The microorganisms that produce the toxins and spores will die if the meat is cooked to the appropriate temperature, but the toxins and spores they produced may not be affected by heat at all (Lawrie’s Meat Science). Once meat has gone bad there is no way to be sure that it is safe to feed your dog.
Feeding fresh meat, whether it is cooked or raw, can provide many health benefits to your dog. Fresh meat contains proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals that are needed for good health. Spoiled meat contains no substances that are beneficial that are not found in fresh meat, but it does contain toxins that can be detrimental to your best friend.
There are simply no health benefits to feeding your dog spoiled meat. The toxins that may be in old meat can make your dog sick just as they can make you sick. If you would not eat the meat yourself, don’t feed it to your dog.
Lawrie’s Meat Science